Keyboard protection is normally a drab affair, devoid of aesthetics. Their usefulness comes down to shielding our keys from damage and wear. RAWBKNY is trying a different path with their Wood Keyboard for the Macbook Pro Retina (Late 2013). Does it break that tradition and finally provide a way to not only protect but look good in the process? Find out in the full review after the break!
At first we were less than enthusiastic about the Wood Keyboard keys because the packaging they came in was less than stellar. No logos, design, branding or any other markings for that matter. But once we touched the RAWBKNY Wood keys, we fell in love. They truly felt like wood to the touch, down to the very grain. The rosewood keys were laser cut to match every key on the standard US layout for the Macbook Pro Retina (Late 2013). The method to how the keys would adhere to the keyboard is through 3M material.
Installation was difficult as the RAWBKNY Wood Keyboard keys were supposed to come with a keyboard template that would allow us to easily align each with the associated wood key. Instead, we had to carefully align each through trial and error. Luckily, since 3M material was used it was easy to remove and paste back if a misalignment did occur (which happened quite often). Each wood key was fairly rigid given that they were cut from thin sheets of rosewood (or bamboo).
Once installed, the Wood Keyboard keys looked amazing. With careful alignment even the light from the backlight keyboard came through perfectly (you do have the option to omit this capability when checking out). At first we were fearful of the keys hitting the screen itself while closed, but that did not happen as there is still clearance (albeit small) once the keys are installed.
After a week of use, no wear on the keys appeared and the 3M material held up well. The keys now had a unique feedback when depressed, and the new texture of the keys provided a new sensation during daily use. We can only speculate on how well this will hold up after more use (months etc.), but from the quality of the materials we have seen, it should hold up quite well.
Overall, we were impressed with the unique concept of the RAWBKNY Wood Keyboard keys. They not only provided protection for the keyboard, but looked great in the process. Our only true complaint was the installation process, which proved difficult without the guide (which was supposed to be included). As long as you have the patience, the RAWBKNY Wood Keyboard keys will give your Macbook Pro a unique flair that will make anyone look twice.